Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

BWV 100 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven.

  • Menu
  • 1. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Chorus)
  • 2. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Duet)
  • 3. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Aria, Soprano)
  • 4. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Aria, Bass)
  • 5. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Aria, Alto)
  • 6. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Chorale)

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Texts
Texts
Credits
Credits

Optimism without contemplation

Bach offers comfort for any day of the year.

When Bach used the chorale text 'Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ for the second time, sometime after 1732, he took a completely different approach to his cantata of the same name from ten years earlier (BWV 99). He lent extra festivity to the instrumentation of that version (flute, oboe d’amore, horn, strings and basso continuo) by adding a second horn and timpani. The text gave every reason for doing so, as not only are the opening and closing choruses derived from the chorale, but the four in-between movements are as well. Because of the unisonous opening line of the successive verses, these movements are all called ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’, like the cantata itself. There is no contemplation in the form of recitatives. Four arias, one of which is a duet for alto and tenor, celebrate the grace of God without interruption or any hint of reserve.

It seems as though Bach, just like the lyricist Samuel Rodigast in 1675, felt a strong need to place the emphasis on his steadfast faith in God’s grace, rather than on the pain of suffering. Rodigast originally wrote the hymn to hearten the sick cantor Severus Gastorius. And it worked, as the cantor recovered and even composed a melody to it, which stood the test of time.

As this cantata was not connected to one specific Sunday, the hymn of praise could be performed at any time. It offered comfort on any day of the year, which must have been very important to Bach’s own family, who had lost three children between 31 August 1732 and 6 November 1733.

BWV
100
Title
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan
Genre
cantatas
Year
1732-35
City
Leipzig
Lyricist
Samuel Rodigast
Occasion
unknown
First performance
unknown
Special notes
There are two other cantatas with this title, BWV 98 and 99.

Extra videos

Conductor Jos van Veldhoven

“Bach more or less copied the opening chorus of BWV 99 in this cantata but he added two horns and timpani. Why?”

Flute player Marten Root

“The most difficult thing about the soprano aria is that you play with a singer who has a wonderful, slow melody and yet you have to stay together.”

Vocal texs

Original

1. Chor
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
es bleibt gerecht sein Wille;
wie er fängt meine Sachen an,
will ich ihm halten stille.
Er ist mein Gott,
der in der Not
mich wohl weiss zu erhalten;
drum lass ich ihn nur walten.
 
2. Duett (Alt, Tenor)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
er wird mich nicht betrügen;
er führet mich auf rechter Bahn,
so lass ich mich begnügen
an seiner Huld
und hab Geduld,
er wird mein Unglück wenden,
es steht in seinen Händen.
 
3. Arie (Sopran)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
er wird mich wohl bedenken;
er, als mein Arzt und Wundermann,
wird mir nicht Gift einschenken
vor Arzenei.
Gott ist getreu,
drum will ich auf ihn bauen
und seiner Gnade trauen.
 
4. Arie (Bass)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
er ist mein Licht, mein Leben,
der mir nichts Böses gönnen kann,
ich will mich ihm ergeben
in Freud und Leid!
Es kommt die Zeit,
da öffentlich erscheinet,
wie treulich er es meinet.
 
5. Arie (Alt)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
muss ich den Kelch gleich schmecken,
der bitter ist nach meinem Wahn,
lass ich mich doch nicht schrecken,
weil doch zuletzt
ich werd ergötzt
mit süssem Trost im Herzen;
da weichen alle Schmerzen.
 
6. Choral
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
darbei will ich verbleiben.
Es mag mich auf die rauhe Bahn
Not, Tod und Elend treiben,
so wird Gott mich
ganz väterlich
in seinen Armen halten;
drum lass ich ihn nur walten.


Translation

1. Chorus
What God doth, is well done,
His will is just and lasts forever;
however He acts on my behalf
I shall stand by him calmly.
He is my God,
who sustains me
when I am in distress;
that is why I let Him prevail.

2. Duet
What God doth, is well done,
He will not deceive me;
He leads me on the proper path,
and so I am content
to enjoy His favour
and show patience.
He shall avert my misfortune,
He has the power to do so.

3. Aria
What God doth, is well done,
He will not forget me;
He, who heals me and works wonders,
will not pour me poison
in place of medicine.
God is true,
therefore shall I build on Him
and trust to His grace.

4. Aria
What God doth, is well done,
He is my light, my life,
who wishes me no evil,
I shall devote myself to Him
in joy and sorrow!
The time will come
when all shall see
how true are His intentions.

5. Aria
What God doth, is well done,
though I must drink of the cup
that tastes bitter according to my misconception,
I shall feel no terror,
for at the last I shall find joy
with sweet comfort in my heart;
all pain shall then yield.

6. Chorale
What God doth, is well done,
to this I shall be constant.
Though I be cast onto the rough road
by affliction, death and misery,
God shall hold me
just like a father
in His arms;
that is why I let Him prevail.

Credits

  • Release date
    8 January 2016
  • Recording date
    7 February 2015
  • Location
    Grote Kerk, Naarden
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Soprano
    Gerlinde Sämann
  • Alto
    Damien Guillon
  • Tenor
    Charles Daniels
  • Bass
    Peter Kooij
  • Ripieno soprano
    Marjon Strijk, Hilde Van Ruymbeke
  • Ripieno alto
    Elsbeth Gerritsen, Barnabás Hegyi
  • Ripieno tenor
    Kevin Skelton, Endrik Üksvärav
  • Ripieno bass
    Michiel Meijer, Drew Santini
  • Violin 1
    Sayuri Yamagata, Pieter Affourtit, Hanneke Wierenga
  • Violin 2
    Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense, Lidewij van der Voort
  • Viola
    Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
  • Double bass
    Maggie Urquhart
  • Traverso
    Marten Root
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler
  • Bassoon
    Yukiko Murakami
  • Horn
    Erwin Wieringa, Alexandre Zanetta
  • Timpani
    Peppie Wiersma
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Positive organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Film director and editor
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Music recording producers
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Micha de Kanter
  • Music editor
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Jorrit Garretsen, Ruben van den Broeke, Diderik Evers, Maarten van Rossem
  • Gaffer
    Zen Bloot, Harm Bredero, Marcel Brugman
  • Score reader
    Stijn Berkouwer
  • Data handler
    Wesley Westerhuis
  • Concert production
    Marco Meijdam, Erik van Lith
  • Producers
    JeanMarc van Sambeek, Jessie Verbrugh
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders
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